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Porsche rolls out LMP1 sports prototype

The World Endurance Championship and 24 Hours of Le Mans are the targets for this latest sports prototype from Porsche.

Under secretive, camouflage wrapping, the new Porsche LMP1 sport prototype went out on the test track at Weissach, Germany for the first time. Porsche board members and works driver Timo Bernhard cruised the new endurance racer through some easy laps for an initial function check.

The LMP1 will be Porsche's next competitive vehicle for high profile endurance races like the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the World Endurance Championship. The car will be unwrapped sometime later this year and will begin competition in the 2014 season.

The LMP1 racer turned its first laps on the circuit several weeks earlier than originally planned. “We are well on schedule,” says Fritz Enzinger, Head of LMP1. “Our newly formed team has worked with utmost concentration on getting this highly complex vehicle on the track as soon as possible. This allows us a few additional weeks for more testing and further development. From 2014, the regulations are primarily based on efficiency. This makes the competition amongst engineers more interesting and presents us with completely new challenges.”

Bernhard says he has been involved in the development of the new race car since the beginning, when in mid-2011, Porsche's race team said they needed to start from the ground-up on a new machine. Bernahrd, along with fellow Porsche works driver Romain Dumas, will be the first two regular drivers in the LMP1 and will carry out the testing on the vehicle on various international circuits as the year progresses.

In a similar vein to the road cars the company builds, the goal with the new LMP1 was to maximize fuel efficiency and performance in a delicate balance of technology, pragmatism, and engineering know-how.